Saturday, December 15, 2012

Who I like, Dallas version

This might be the toughest Steelers game to pick all season - not that I've exactly been nailing it with this team this season.

The line has moved all over on this game, which means Las Vegas has struggled with it as well.

The Steelers and Cowboys have had almost identical up-and-down seasons.

Both teams play good defense and have the potential for explosiveness on offense, but have been inconsistent.

The biggest differences are that Dallas is better rushing the passer, while the Steelers are better at quarterback.

Both teams are also banged up - Dallas up the middle of its defense, the Steelers at cornerback and on the offensive line (the Cowboys' line has been bad all season).

And both teams are 7-6 and fighting for a playoff spot - though the Cowboys certainly need this game more than the Steelers.

A loss by the Cowboys would pretty much end their playoff hopes. It's doubtful anyone is making the playoffs in the NFC at 9-7.

While the Steelers can lose to the Cowboys, win their final two games - both at home - and reach the postseason. They don't necessarily want to take that route, but it's certainly possible.

The Steelers are 1-point favorites in this game in this game, but with their offensive line injuries - and more importantly, secondary issues - I see the Cowboys pulling this one out.

Take Dallas, 26-23.


36 comments:

SteelerAndrew said...

No disrespect, but I am so happy that you picked the cowgirls, that means we will win for sure.

Love your column BTW. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

We normally play at the level of our competition, so take the Stillers! I also enjoy your column. Merry Christmas!

Anonymous Brian said...

Yeah, the cornerback situation is pretty desperate, I think. Steelers need a major pass rush and for the offense to score, like, points and stuff. Then again there's the O-line shuffle.

I think Ben has to be great, and Wallace and Brown have to get their heads out of their heads (going up against some good corners), and the D needs to come up with a huge turnover or score even, for the Steelers to win this one.

Theoretically I'd say try and run the ball down the Cowboys' throats but..eh, probably won't happen, hence Ben needs to earn his $100 franchise QB money.

Can't just count on Romo to mess up in a timely fashion. Although maybe he will.

Cowboys by a touchdown is my guess. Which probably means the Steelers win by 20 based on what I've thought so far this year.

Justin Becker said...

Great blog, I have book marked and plan to share with my friends later :) Yahoo Fantasy Football Rankings

Patrick said...

to me this game really comes down to how well the Steelers can run the ball. I don't see them throwing well against these corners, considering the line situation.

Defensively I think the Steelers should be ok.

I'll go Steelers 20-17.

Henry said...

Why Golden over Will Allen at Safety?

Whack said...

$!@#%& wide receivers can't @&%$!#@ hold on to the ball...

Anonymous said...

A Brown is a bumb. If he holds on to that punt return fumble, it basically guarantees a win. Then he doesnt fair catch the last punt and it bounces for 59.

u suck u show boating fool

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree with you more about Antonio Brown, fumble, don't catch the punt, go out of bounds! Guy has his head up his butt.

Anonymous said...

Antonio Brown just cost us our season

he should start calling himself 'Counterfit Money' because he is a phony scumbag

Anonymous said...

What made the Brown fumble even worse was the injury to Lewis. It looked like a groin injury to me. That was also some of the worst tackling I have ever seen from the Steelers.

Patrick said...

I think we had some huge fumble, dropped pass, or major mental mistake in every game this season.

That is called a trend. That is this team's identity.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you Patrick and a team takes on the identity of the coach

Anonymous said...

If the Steelers won the last two weeks, they'd be in first place and we wouldn't be having this conversation. Instead, we're in third place and Steeler fans are losing their patience with Tomlin. Losing 4 out of the last 5 is really giving them hell, nothing like a little momentum going into the playoffs. Playoffs, playoffs? Let the Bungals have it, Steelers don't deserve it.

Anonymous said...

At the time, Russ Grimm seemed like a better choice than Tomlin. Grimm was a football player, a Pittsburgh type of guy. Tomlin seems more like someone swept in with the Rooney rule.

Anonymous said...

Tough loss. They didn't make many mistakes (penalties or turnovers), but AB made one when it counted. If it was Rainey, I would have blamed coach. Brown was out there for a reason, and he should have kept that in mind.

Zac in Tempe

Anonymous said...

"but AB made one when it counted." Pretty much - the Steelers had all the momentum at that point. The fumble killed all momentum and gave it to Dallas.

Anonymous said...

looks like Patrick has been responding to his own posts again...

Anonymous said...

I agree with you Patrick and a team takes on the identity of the coach...


Whack said...

I love it 'Counterfit Money' ...

a far better fitting nick name for the Steelers young wide receivers...

and I thought they were hailed to be a team strength this season...

marc said...

i only saw bits and pieces, but you guys are dead on, brown blew it big time. i loved it when brown caught a pass for a first down at one point and did his stupid little pose when he got up and one of my sons (11 yrs old) said, "what's he celebrating for, he just got a first down. it's not like he just won the game." perfect.

i'm not sure how excessive turnovers are a team taking on the identity of the coach? you don't think the coaches are preaching ball security 24/7, making them do specific drills to protect the ball, etc? if anything, i feel it's a sign of lack of maturity. most of these turnovers are coming from guys in the league 4 yrs or less, right?

i find the comment from one of the posters regarding the rooney rule inappropriate. the steelers organization was one of the first (if not the first) to have an african american coordinator. one of the first to provide coaching positions of any kind to african americans, actually. to imply this organization hired tomlin simply to satisfy the rooney rule is an insult to the entire organization, the rooneys, and tomlin.

does #7's arm strength seem down? some of his out passes looked soft to me, especially the one picked off in OT.

lastly, every season every team has a game where it basically determines their season. for a really good team, that usually comes in the playoffs when they get to find out if they really have what it takes to get to the super bowl. for example, the patriots this year will find out how good they really are in the divisional round or AFC championship game. all these other games, for them, are just preparation for that.

for the steelers this year, that game is next week against the bengals. all the injuries, all the turnovers, the ups and downs get wiped away if they show they can come out and put together one solid, beginning to end, winning performance.

personally, i don't think they can do it. i think the injuries are just too much of a hurdle. this team, this roster right now, is average at best.

Patrick said...

"i'm not sure how excessive turnovers are a team taking on the identity of the coach?"

well i said they have mental mistakes each game which includes turnovers (because lets be honest, its not like other teams are doing something Charles Tillman-like to force turnovers), but the other poster linked it to the coach.

My point is that there is an overall lack of focus. I really just don't see how someone could disagree with that. And this gets back to last week's chicken v. the egg sort of discussion of whether that is the coach or the players. And I say that has a substantial portion to do with the coach.

At the same time, Tomlin has tried to bench people to get through, so maybe its just young guys being young guys. But somehow, someway, Antonio Brown has to know that ball security in that situation is way more important than an extra 20 yards. He is trying to make a play, I know, but it looked like ball security was the LAST thing on his mind. And that is troubling to me and a sign of poor coaching.

Patrick said...

let me just add. I'm sitting here watching the patriots game and they are down 31-3!

31-3!

and then, Brady runs for a questionable first down, and while everyone is screwing around and not paying attention, they run a TD to tie the game.

You will NEVER see that kind of football under Tomlin. Only what you're supposed to do with some of what you're not supposed to do. Nothing especially significant otherwise.

Steelerfreak76 said...

I think it's rediculous that people here are screaming for Tomlin's head. The reason this team is average this season is simple, injuries. Too many injuries to overcome on a consistent basis. Just when Troy comes back, and Deebo is rounding into form, out goes Ike T. I mean, then Keenan goes out, after C Allen not playing. Woodley in and out of the lineup. Third string RT, Ben misses three games, I mean it just goes on and on!! It's almost funny. In fact, I think the coaching staff should be applauded for achieving a .500 record!

Anonymous said...

Hi Marcie,

This one's for you:

Rooney wasn’t asked about the rumor/legend that offensive line coach Russ Grimm had been verbally offered the job, and that the offer was rescinded after Commissioner Roger Goodell advised Rooney that Tomlin needed to be hired in order to give credibility to the Rooney Rule.

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2009/01/27/rooney-says-tomlin-wasnt-a-rooney-rule-candidate/

I'm sure politics had nothing to do with it, just like Rooney becoming ambassador to Ireland had nothing to do with his campaigning for Obama. Wake up son.

Anonymous said...

Tomlin was not the Rooney Rule interviewee. Ron Rivera was. So why didn't the Steelers just hire Ron Rivera? If it was just about hiring a minority as the head coach of your very successful sports franchise, why didn't they hire the minority they had already interviewed? I'm sure teams choose a head coach based on appearances all the time. And those teams have lots of success with their quota-hire coach.

Anonymous said...

I think what happened was the Steelers interviewed Rivera to fulfill the Rooney requirement, then made an offer to Grimm, but Goodell suggested it would look better if a minority candidate was hired, hence the Tomlin hiring. Tomlin was the hot minority candidate after 1 year as Minnesota's DC. Doesn't matter, based on how often the Steelers change coaches, expect Tomlin to be around for a long time.

Patrick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patrick said...

I'm not weighing on why Tomlin was hired and any implications. He was hired, thats it.

But you guys kind of bring up an issue which I think we will see in he next 5=7 years.

Tomlin is safe after this season for at least another 2 years. Its not likely that the Steelers aren't going to make the playoffs this year and the next 2. They have a good structure in place, and unless things start to fall apart, it doesn't matter who the coach is, they will be talented. So I truly believe that Tomlin is the new Andy Reid. We might see him coach to mediocrity for the next 7 years without getting fired.

(if anyone is curious the edit - I changed "they will be good" to "they will be talented" to more accurately reflect what I am trying to get across)

Anonymous said...

Hence the Tomlin hire? You didn't explain why they didn't just hire Rivera. If it's just about hiring somebody to keep up appearances you wouldn't need to bring in another guy. You already had a minority you could hire for show. Why bring in a different one and go through the hole process? Also, it makes a lot of sense that the Steelers would have told Goodell who they were going to hire before they had announced it and for Goodell, who only got the job because of the Rooneys, being able to tell them who to hire.

Anonymous said...

Actually it makes a lot of sense that the Steelers would have told Goodell who they were going to hire prior to announcing it publicly, just in case there were any issues. And you indicated that Goodell only got the job because of the Rooneys, so having a close relationship, Goodell could have suggested to the Rooneys that it would look good to hire a minority, rather than hire the most qualified candidate. This practice is not uncommon in the business/government world, ever heard of EEO? Why not hire Rivera, don't know, maybe he didn't impress the Rooneys enough. But in reality, it doesn't matter, because Tomlin is making his mark on the team and some of the older players from the Cowher era will be retiring in the next few years, then we'll get a better gauge of what sort of coach Tomlin is, particularly when Ben retires.

Eric T said...

Tomlin can't be the new Andy Reid since he coached his team to a Super Bowl Victory. But keep trying Patrick to convince us that a team with this many injuries, starting so many practice squaders should being winning each game convincingly.


Too many injuries overcome,especially with vets like Antonio making mental mistakes. Too bad, this game was there for the taking. Ben really let us down with that OT pick.

Patrick said...

injuries aren't an excuse

Those of the words of the head coach.

And there is absolutely no connection to Antonio Brown's fumble and injuries.

But I would say, for example, that there is a connection between Brown's fumble, Mendenhall's fumbles, Dwyer's fumbles, Wallace's inconsistency, whatever kind of football you want to say Sanders is playing lately and the fact that special teams returns have been flawed the entire year, all fall under the umbrella of "lack of focus."

But hey, why let Ben and Santonio's miracle drive get in the way of that?

Anonymous said...

Injuries are part of the game, but the Steelers have had more than their fair share. Losses to Oakland and Tennessee were early in the season when there weren't too many injuries other than Polamalu. Can't blame the 8 TOs in Cleveland on injuries. The SD game the Steelers looked flat or maybe Ben was rusty. The turning point for today's game was AB's TO, followed by failing to catch a punt and then running out of bounds on 3rd down. Can't blame any of that on injuries. We're finding ways to lose games. Even in our wins, we're trying hard to give the games away. The Bengals game, Wallace really looked like he was trying to lose the games with 4 drops. Or the KC game we played really badly. Tomlin doesn't have the team ready to play against lesser opponents. The coaches are responsible for putting the players in a position to win. I doubt Ben thinks Haley is doing that.

marc said...

if anyone thinks goodell told the rooneys who to hire as their multi-million dollar head coach to help run their mega-million dollar family-owned franchise is flat out stupid. citing rumors as fact doesn't cut it.

patrick, you're all over the board man. no one said injuries caused brown's fumble. i agree with you, lack of focus is huge this season. that's part coach, part player. injuries are also huge this season. it doesn't really matter if the coach says injuries are not an excuse, they still affect the outcome. tell me the steelers aren't better with taylor starting at CB and an extra healthy starting o-linemen.

when a team goes through significant injuries, they need the veterans to step up and make plays. some veterans are, but too many are not.

Anonymous said...

By EEO do you mean equal employment opportunity? Because that dictates that there be no preference given for quotas. I'm guessing you mean Affirmative Action, which the Rooney Rule is not. And no, the Rooneys would not have to run their new hire by Goodell to approve. As much power as Goodell likes to pretend to have he works for the owners.

Patrick said...

I think I was replying to two different posters marc, hence the all over the place.